Jérôme is the lead partner at the firm of architects on the floor directly below our office. I don’t know his name but he looks like a Jérôme to me in his chinos and short-sleeved cotton shirts carrying a well-worn canvas and hide Sandstorm bag. I’ve spotted him secretly spying me through the mirrors’ reflections when we’ve shared a lift on several occasions. My gaydar was stirred but it was at the car park yesterday after work when someone said something which confirmed these doubts.
Actually it was Sheila who pointed out Jérôme who was getting into a Jeep driven by a youngish looking man. She nudged me with her elbow don’t look now but there’s that Belgian with his Kenyan boy! Then claws showing as we watched the Jeep climb out of the basement, ‘these white men are spoiling our young men.’ I couldn’t let this one slip by so I said, ‘Who’s to say they are not equally enjoying whatever it is they are doing together.’ Sheila said nothing just shrugged. She’s a clever girl, steers clear of controversy whenever challenged.
It got me thinking on the way home. This is not the first time I’ve heard the view expressed that the black Kenyan half of an interracial couple is being taken advantage of, or that the ‘foreigner’ is being cheated off his money. Somehow Kenyans in these pairings are seen as calculating but naive gold diggers while their usually white lovers are viewed as lovelorn hapless victims. If you add a substantial age gap to the mix you have a recipe for a potential riot. Is there any truth to these stereotypes?